There has been much written on the subject of excellence and exceeding expectations, whether it is your company’s expectations, or your client’s, or your own. As I was preparing to write a press release today, I had an epiphany. Isn’t the key to an excellent performance summed up in one word? Love.
Before you navigate off this page, do not be alarmed. Stay calm. I am not trying to take a hard-boiled subject like success in business and turn it into a Kumbaya lesson on love. No sir, no way. It simply struck me that people who are excellent at what they do are probably excellent because they love what they are doing. I know it’s an epiphany that other people have already had; it just really struck me full throttle how it seems that everyone I know who loves what they do are good at it.
Take me, for example. I love to goof off. Seriously, I think I could win an award for it. A Nobel-type of award. I like to wake up late, sit in front of the TV dazed while I drink my coffee, then lose myself for two, even three hours reading blogs, tweeting, reading my pals updates on Facebook , and doing other things that won’t make money. You would think, during these periods of goofing off, that I am under the impression that I’m a teen-ager, living off Mom and Dad. Quite the contrary: I have had genuine Alzheimer’s moments on the Internet. I look at the clock and it says 9:00. I look at it again a little later and two hours have passed, I don’t know where the time has gone or much less what I’ve been doing. I look at my screen and see that I am on mashable.com, after having clicked on one link after the other on the website until I’m buried so deep in the site’s bowels I’m finding antiques that have been stored away.
Then I go make an ice tea, watch some TV, look at my dog who is dying for a walk, walk him, come back, look at some more TV, then get back on the computer and the next thing I know, it’s time to call it a day and make dinner.
Thankfully, I manage to (usually) avoid these days, but if it hadn’t happened to me in the past, I would not be able to write about it with such detail. Which brings me back to my point: love.
In the midst of the recession, with millions jobless, it’s not only a treat to find someone employed, it’s a treat to find someone who loves their job. I love all things social media, which explains why it is so easy for me to spend hours on the Internet. I’ve turned it into an active part of my career, so bully for me. I took a passion and made some diniro at it. My boyfriend, on the other hand, loves Robert De Niro. He also loves Martin Scorsese and Bob Rafelson and all sorts of Hollywood directors, writers, producers and actors. He’s made a career out of that producing DVD bonus features. Ask anyone in his field: he’s the best at his job. In fact, dare I say it? He’s excellent.
Julia Child loved food. She loved French food and she turned it into a career. Julie Powell loved writing and she loved Julia Child and she turned that love into a lucrative writing career. The other day, I saw “Julie and Julia” and I blogged about it, because I love movies and I love food and to have a movie about food and Julia Child is my idea of time well spent. That one blog post on “Julie and Julia” had an overwhelming response, which means I have somehow, momentarily, joined the ranks of Julia Child and Julie Powell, and tapped into something that America loves. Eating great food.
But back to that press release that I was working on: I was feeling a little nervous about getting started because, frankly, I write a lot of press releases in my career, and the challenge is always how to make the news I’m announcing exciting. I had sent the client a list of questions about the announcement and she wrote back answering me. As I was rereading her response, I saw what I needed: her excitement. This is a woman who is a passionate about what she does, and it showed in her answers to my question. I could almost hear a Billy Mays style hawker reading her words to me, punctuating syllables with emphasis to show the enthusiasm.
If you love your product, your service, your company, your job, it shows in ways you don’t even realize. It shows in the simple answers to mundane questions. It shows when a member of your team or strategic partner has to take your words, your ideas, your strategies and translate it as part of their own job. If you are lucky, this person, too, loves what he or she is doing and you have a win/win situation.
Come on. Hug it out. Kumbaya, y’all. Feel the love.